In the early eighties, the BBC started a computing revolution with the launch of the Micro. The heavy, light-brown box, created with help from Acorn and ARM, was designed to complement the broadcaster's ongoing computer literacy project. It was intended to give children a grounding not only in programming, but also graphics, sound and gaming. In the thirty-plus years that have passed, the BBC has remained committed to educating Britain's youngsters in the same fields, but never returned to hardware -- at least until a few years ago.
Pop-Up Video: it's not just the greatest VH1 show ever, it's also Facebook's latest feature. The social network is rolling out floating videos for desktop users that can sit anywhere in your window while you continue browsing your News Feed, just like on Tumblr. You can activate the feature by clicking on a new button at the bottom-right of video embeds, which looks like this:
Low-cost probes, an extraterrestrial submarine and spacecraft propelled by electric sails: these are but three of the seven projects moving on to Phase II of NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. All the entries have only just begun development, since the program's specifically meant for early-stage research projects. NASA believes investing in those is crucial "for advancing new systems concepts and developing requirements for technologies to enable future space exploration missions."
Here are the seven projects that stood out:
The Raspberry Pi has been a huge success story for Britain, giving millions of people an affordable way to tinker and learn with pocket-sized hardware. Now, the BBC is hoping to make a similar impact with the "Micro:bit." Like the Raspberry Pi, this tiny computer has been created to help youngsters learn the fundamentals of programming and computer construction. Today in London, the broadcaster unveiled the Micro:bit's final design -- a rectangular, credit card-style board measuring 4cm by 5cm -- and some of the all-important hardware features. These include 25 red LEDs, which can show messages and facilitate games, two programmable buttons, an on-board accelerometer and magnetometer. The device also offers Bluetooth LE connectivity, a microUSB slot and five input and output (I/O) rings that can be hooked up with crocodile clips and 4mm banana plugs. It's been a while since the original BBC Micro was considered cutting edge, but even so -- this new device is roughly 18 times faster and 67 times lighter than its spiritual predecessor.
Have you ever searched for a product on Amazon, only to find a similar item from another company? Sure you have. But while this search behavior is arguably great for customers, it's the reasoning behind a trademark lawsuit against the online retailer. "Military" watchmaker MTM has been pursuing Amazon since 2011 and, despite losing in a California federal court, it's just won a 2-1 vote in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to have the case go to trial.
It sucks that Home Sharing for music isn't available on iOS 8.4, but don't worry -- Apple isn't permanently getting rid of the feature to boost its Music subscriptions. Eddy Cue, the company's SVP of Internet Software and Services, has divulged on Twitter that he and his team are working on bringing it back on iOS 9. He made the revelation on the social network as a response to this amusing tweet: "Hey @cue, I hope I don't have to be @taylorswift13 to get you to restore Home Sharing for music!"
Plenty of folks in Austin, Texas have spotted Google's distinctive self-driving Lexus cars recently, and now we know why. The company revealed that it's now rolling the vehicles in downtown Austin in order to "(test) our software in different driving environments, traffic patterns and road conditions." While Google could also test its self-driving cars in Nevada and elsewhere, Austin is the first city outside of Mountain View where it's actually done so. The reason? "We've loved how much Austin embraces innovation," a Google spokesperson told the Austin American-Statesmen. She added that with Google Fiber and several company offices in the city, it was a natural fit for self-driving cars.
Edward Snowden might be able to see his family in person again -- and (if things go his way) not from behind bars, either. According to former Attorney General Eric Holder, there's a "possibility" for the Department of Justice to negotiate an agreement with the whistleblower, which will allow him to come back home. One of Edward Snowden's lawyers admitted back in March that they were doing everything they could to bring him back to the US, so the two parties might have been talking for a while now. Holder didn't delve into specifics when asked if that meant the government is working on a plea deal, but he said: "I certainly think there could be a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with. I think the possibility exists."
Black holes are, by definition, impossible to see by conventional methods and are often further obscured by thick blankets of dust or gas. But that's not an issue for NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). It can peek through the obscuring layers and monitor the black holes via the high-energy X-rays that they emit. And, after a recent survey that spotted five previously unknown supermassive black holes in the centers of various galaxies, NASA researchers now think there could be millions of of them dotting the Universe like the holes of an intergalactic colander.
Samsung predicts that its earnings from April-June of this year will likely be down four percent from last year, suggesting that sales of its newest flagship smartphones have failed to hit the mark. However, it will still be the company's highest quarterly profit since Q2 2015. The company's forecast is thin on details -- revenue is also down 8.4 percent from the same period last year-- but many analysts think supply shortages have stymied sales of Samsung's S6 Edge. The WSJ's sources say that the company struggled to match production to the demand of customers, who wanted the curved Galaxy S6 Edge over the original S6, initially predicting to sell four Galaxy S6 smartphones for each S6 Edge. At the same time, the company's lucrative component business, which puts parts in rival phones as well as PCs, will likely have another strong quarter, putting an equally strong spotlight on the mobile arm's struggles.